Apparently, when I was around 5 years old, I had some crazy issue with the way my shoulders looked, and I wouldn't wear anything that allowed them to be exposed. My sister tells me my little five year-old self was pretty adamant about it - no tank tops, no sundresses... I probably wore a t-shirt over swimsuits back them. I eventually got over this fixation and moved on to another: my discomfort with my rosy cheeks. I purchased and wore green tinted make-up when I was in high school - the idea is that red and green are complimentary colors on the color wheel and are supposed to sort of cancel each other out. If you mix red and green paint you get gray. Gray cheeks, I guess, seemed more appealing to me at the time than rosy red ones, so I wore that wretched foundation for a couple years. I can only imagine how silly I looked. I've still got the rosy cheeks but have pretty much gotten over worrying about those, too. My most recent and longest-lasting fixation is on my legs. Their shape, their size, the broken blood vessels on my left shin - I'm pretty hard on myself about most everything about them. I hate to admit that I'm hard on myself for something so petty, but I am.
I work in a boutique for women. I see women - all types of women - in various states of dress on a daily basis. Young and old, short and tall, little and big. I see how they look at themselves in the mirror; I hear what they say about their bodies. More often than not, as you'd probably guess, I hear them make negative comments about their bodies. The funny thing is, rarely do I notice the features that they're unhappily fixating on until they make disparaging comments about them. Even then, I usually have to try pretty hard to see that their shoulders are small in proportion to their hips or their calves are on the wide side or they don't have much of a waist or... whatever. The things that so many of us choose to fixate on about our bodies are usually inflated in our own heads and are often completely unnoticed by others.
What kills me is that knowing all of this and deeply believing that in the long run what we look like is really of minimal importance, I continue to unhappily fixate on the appearance of my legs. When it comes to my legs, I don't often think of the 20 miles or so that they run each week. I don't think of all of the bike rides that they allow me to enjoy, or of the long strolls with Barry that they take me on. But I'm trying. I'm trying to think about how lucky I am to have a strong, healthy body. I'm trying to wear clothing that I like, not just clothing that hides the parts of my body that I don't like (that means skirts in the summer, when there are no tights and tall boots to hide behind). I'm trying to imagine myself down the road as a little old wrinkled lady looking back on my life - will I still be fixated on my legs, or will I regret the amount of energy I wasted on feeling bad about myself for so long?
I'm not quite sure why I shared this with you here. I guess that admitting I have these feelings that I'm not proud of is part of my attempt at doing something about them. How about you? Got anything to get off your chest so you can get over it?